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 Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition

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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:57 am

evercloserunion wrote:
tonys wrote:
The fact that those in favour of the “right to choose abortion” insist on clinging to the “it’s only because of religion” argument when it’s as plain as day that this argument just doesn’t stand up, shows I think that they recognise the strength of the non religious anti abortion argument and the weakness of the purely self-interest based pro-abortion position.

As against that though I find it odd that the anti-abortion crowd seem to think the onus is on the pro-choice groups to prove that a foetus is not a human person and that killing one is not murder; historically murder never extended to the killing of foetuses, foetuses instead were protected by a separate prohibition of abortion which was more morally based. It was always the case that you cannot murder a foetus. If the pro-life lobby think this should be changed that's fine and I welcome debate but the ball is in their court and it is they who should be proving their case, they should not be leaving it up to those who favour the age-old distinction to prove their case.

Logically and scientifically it is difficult to justify extending the right to life all the way back to conception because at that point the... whatever it is, is so far from what we would consider a person that to give it the same status as one would be downright ludicrous. But where, then, to draw the line? Obviously there is no one significant leap within the pregnancy... an n-day-old foetus is not sufficiently different to an (n-1)-day-old foetus to justify categorising the two as completely different legal entities. But we have to draw a line somewhere. So where?

There is one point at which a major change occurs in the child - at birth. The change is not biological, but social. In the eyes of society, a baby in the womb is competely different to a baby outside the womb; or, at least, the difference is much greater than that between a baby in the womb for n days and a baby in the womb for n-1 days. The line is not moral or scientific, but social and practical. I contend that, if the religious baggage surrounding this issue were to be removed, the line would be relatively in keeping with society's views on pregnancy. A foetus is never really viewed as a separate person, but rather as an extension of the mother. A woman has a baby and becomes a mother when she goes into labour and the baby pops out of her, not nine months before.
In fact I heard recently that the catholic church had no problem with abortion up until 400 years ago but I'm not sure if that is true. Given their tendency to move goa lposts I wouldn't be surprised. I find the qustion of where to draw the line difficult. This is where johnfas' personal principals  gets murkier for me. Apart from birth two other possibilities present themselves I think. One is viability which gets earlier all the time and the other is with the level of brain development compatible with consciousness. I'm currently more comfortable erring on the side of caution with the earlier pregnancy stage. I think it is sad that Irish women often have to wait till later in a pregnancy than other countries presumably because of access to service issues.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:59 am

Johnfás' personal principles? I fairly obviously stated that I have presented no personal principles on this thread.

You might well be surprised at what my personal principles are.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:08 am

Sure I saw johnfás eating a baby there only yesterday.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:09 am

They're very tasty...
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:14 am

johnfás wrote:
Johnfás' personal principles? I fairly obviously stated that I have presented no personal principles on this thread.

You might well be surprised at what my personal principles are.
I wasn't talking about your personal principles but what I understood was your arguement that such judgements were a matter of personal principles - or words to that effect. I'm too tired to look back and see what precisely you said.Btw do you have a view personally or is it a secret?
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:31 am

Well I do think that such matters are of personal principles and I think that evercloserunion's contribution is in agreement with that. There is no point at which you can categorically determine functioning human life occurs and thus it is a matter which society, in its wisdom, must determine. Society is the sum of its parts and thus the determination of that question, if it were put to the test, would be the majority of opinions personally held.

My personal opinion in the first instance is that I dislike the manner in which much of the debate is framed. A situation where each side attempts to irrationalise their oponent, one side assuming the label "pro-choice" with a clear implication that those who have an objection to abortion are somehow illiberal, and the other assuming the lable "pro-life" with a clear implication that the opposing position is somehow supportive of murder, or something like that. My disagreement in the preceding pages have not been about the opinions held, but merely the attempt at beating the other side with the stick of irrationality - that sort of argument is going to produce no results, however unsuccessfully I demonstrated that point.

My opinion, personally held, is that abortion is in essence an evil act, perhaps the lesser of evils but nevertheless an evil. My personal opinion, not inflicted upon anybody in law, is that the option of abortion should always be a last resort and where adoption or greater support can be made available for single mothers it is far more appropriate and likely less psychologically damaging to themselves in an awful lot of cases. However, as I said, it is clear that abortion can in many cases be the lesser of evils and this is certainly the case in respect of situations such as rape or the life of the mother being at risk.

As I said, I don't see any evidence of a qualitative point at which you can consider human life to be human life and consequently all that follows is mere opinion, based on scientific evidence but nevertheless opinion rather than fact. The result of the coming together of sperm and ovum is the obviously the starting point of human life. The appearance of the primitive streak, which occurs roughly two weeks later is an important stage as it has been discovered that it is at this stage that the neurological system begins to develop. However, in the weeks after this event nearly half of embryos abort naturally in any case. Fertilisation, implantation and subsequent developments are part of a continuing process, it is impossible to identify the single moment at which human life begins, unless one reverts back to the core principle of the moment of conception. However, the right of the embryo to be fully respected, in my opinion, clearly increases throughout pregnancy.

Consequently, any change in the legal system which introduced abortion would necessarily have a time limit on its use. It would be strongly preferable if the necessity for abortion would be all but abolished owing to advances in medical science and social support for those who experience crisis pregnancy. However, as I said, terminantion at the earliest stage possible of pregnancy may well be the lesser of two evils in alot of cases. If abortion were not available in the UK for Irish citizens there would be a huge increase in back street abortions in Ireland resulting in ill health both to babies and to mothers, that is not a desirable situation.

To refuse to countenance abortion in any circumstance is to condemn numerous women and their babies to gross suffering and cruel death in the name of an absolutism which nature itself does not observe. As a result I believe that a outright ban on abortion is not desirable. However, as previously stated, the primary focus of any society should be abortion as a last resort, whereby mother's feel confident of the supports that are available to them in the event that they decide to continue with pregnancy even without a view to keeping the baby upon birth.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:52 am

If there are numerous opinions on when life begins, and none can be held as definitively true, isn't there a moral obligation to take the earliest position, on the basis that it might possibly be true?

In relation to back-street abortions, should decisions be made on the utilitarian basis that it is permissable to commit evil to prevent another evil?

And on the 'absolutism' point, to take that argument to its conclusion it would mean that because nature can 'kill' adults it is permissable to kill adults ourselves.

The 'condemn women and babies to gross suffering' argument, in how many cases does that happen? Would you be content to limit abortion to that tiny proportion of all current abortions? And I'm not sure how killing the unborn child is better than this supposed suffering later on anyway? My own position, and that of the Catholic Church, is that if a treatment designed to save a mother's life results in the death of the baby, that is morally permissable, though as a last resort. If the aim is to kill the child rather than to save the mother's life, that is not morally permissable. Simple and clear, I don't see where opposition to abortion leads to this suffering and cruel death you speak of...
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:10 am

I think it is critical to teach children about sex and the consequences of sex from an eaely age, In addition I think programmes like in the US which help young girls experience the reality of life with a baby are useful for those younsters who have romantic notions about babies. Then for those who come from large families ,know exactly whats involved but see no other real options  - they need intervention to help them broaden their horizons. All methods of contraception need to be taught to boys and girls. If all this occurred the need for abortion would decrease dramatically.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:16 am

toxic avenger wrote:
If there are numerous opinions on when life begins, and none can be held as definitively true, isn't there a moral obligation to take the earliest position, on the basis that it might possibly be true?

In relation to back-street abortions, should decisions be made on the utilitarian basis that it is permissable to commit evil to prevent another evil?

And on the 'absolutism' point, to take that argument to its conclusion it would mean that because nature can 'kill' adults it is permissable to kill adults ourselves.

The 'condemn women and babies to gross suffering' argument, in how many cases does that happen? Would you be content to limit abortion to that tiny proportion of all current abortions? And I'm not sure how killing the unborn child is better than this supposed suffering later on anyway? My own position, and that of the Catholic Church, is that if a treatment designed to save a mother's life results in the death of the baby, that is morally permissable, though as a last resort. If the aim is to kill the child rather than to save the mother's life, that is not morally permissable. Simple and clear, I don't see where opposition to abortion leads to this suffering and cruel death you speak of...
Well the case in Brazil clearly well into that category but the childs mother was still exc as were the doctor and nurse.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:19 am

I was surprised to see you also don't agree with euthanasia Toxic. Surely in the case where someone is suffering terribly and begs to be allowed to die you would want to assist them?
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:32 am

imokyrok wrote:
I was surprised to see you also don't agree with euthanasia Toxic. Surely in the case where someone is suffering terribly and begs to be allowed to die you would want to assist them?

No. The killing of anyone is wrong. Allowing them to die is different. There's certainly a grey area where the distinction is hard to define, but there is still a line. To allow for euthanasia anyway runs several unpalatable risks. Elderly or sick people can feel pressured into making the decision to die by unscrupulous relatives, or themselves wrongly feel a burden on others (my mum, who is paralysed with MS, often says she feels like she's a burden to everyone, even though nothing could be further from the truth, and it's not hard to envisage others feeling the same making drastic decisions as a result). It also precludes the hope of cure and even of inexplicable recovery. It imposes on doctors a new duty, in violation of their Hippocratic Oath to save lives, of killing people (the British General Medical Council are absolutely opposed to euthanasia for this reason). It, most of all, grants a 'right' to kill another human being, a cheapening of life, and establishes a very slippery slope. I am implacably opposed to euthanasia, in all circumstances.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:38 am

toxic avenger wrote:
imokyrok wrote:
I was surprised to see you also don't agree with euthanasia Toxic. Surely in the case where someone is suffering terribly and begs to be allowed to die you would want to assist them?

No. The killing of anyone is wrong. Allowing them to die is different. There's certainly a grey area where the distinction is hard to define, but there is still a line. To allow for euthanasia anyway runs several unpalatable risks. Elderly or sick people can feel pressured into making the decision to die by unscrupulous relatives, or themselves wrongly feel a burden on others (my mum, who is paralysed with MS, often says she feels like she's a burden to everyone, even though nothing could be further from the truth, and it's not hard to envisage others feeling the same making drastic decisions as a result). It also precludes the hope of cure and even of inexplicable recovery. It imposes on doctors a new duty, in violation of their Hippocratic Oath to save lives, of killing people (the British General Medical Council are absolutely opposed to euthanasia for this reason). It, most of all, grants a 'right' to kill another human being, a cheapening of life, and establishes a very slippery slope. I am implacably opposed to euthanasia, in all circumstances.
Are the British General Medical Council also opposed to the seduction of slaves?

(Point being that the Hippocratic oath could be accused of being a tad out of date)
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:44 am

Yes it was because of your mums situation that I was surprised you are against it. I think that the decision to euthanise must only ever be taken in the best interests of the person wishing to die. I can think of many reasons why that wish alone would not be in their best interests but I believe that with the right multidisciplinay team involved to cover issue of improving quality of life, pain managment, legal issues counselling etc there sometimes comes a time when the only humane thing to do is allow the person to die and assist if need be.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:00 am

imokyrok wrote:
Yes it was because of your mums situation that I was surprised you are against it. I think that the decision to euthanise must only ever be taken in the best interests of the person wishing to die. I can think of many reasons why that wish alone would not be in their best interests but I believe that with the right multidisciplinay team involved to cover issue of improving quality of life, pain managment, legal issues counselling etc there sometimes comes a time when the only humane thing to do is allow the person to die and assist if need be.

Allowing a person to die is different to killing. There is, I grant you, a fuzzy area where the distinction isn't clear (such as removing feeding), but there is a distinction. Some might say that is 'have your cake and eat it' hypocrisy, but I think it is in fact very important. At some point, 'allowing to die' and 'killing' are clearly distinguishable, and I'm against killing.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:14 am

toxic avenger wrote:
imokyrok wrote:
Yes it was because of your mums situation that I was surprised you are against it. I think that the decision to euthanise must only ever be taken in the best interests of the person wishing to die. I can think of many reasons why that wish alone would not be in their best interests but I believe that with the right multidisciplinay team involved to cover issue of improving quality of life, pain managment, legal issues counselling etc there sometimes comes a time when the only humane thing to do is allow the person to die and assist if need be.

Allowing a person to die is different to killing. There is, I grant you, a fuzzy area where the distinction isn't clear (such as removing feeding), but there is a distinction. Some might say that is 'have your cake and eat it' hypocrisy, but I think it is in fact very important. At some point, 'allowing to die' and 'killing' are clearly distinguishable, and I'm against killing.
What if despite  best efforts to manage pain a terminally ill person is in total agony and is begging for sufficient morphine to end her life or a person who is completely paralysed and doesn't wish to continue and needs help to commit suicide. Or the person who has a horrible degenerative disease which she knows will result in a long slow apalling death would you allow her her shot of morphine overdose?
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:21 am

imokyrok wrote:
toxic avenger wrote:
imokyrok wrote:
Yes it was because of your mums situation that I was surprised you are against it. I think that the decision to euthanise must only ever be taken in the best interests of the person wishing to die. I can think of many reasons why that wish alone would not be in their best interests but I believe that with the right multidisciplinay team involved to cover issue of improving quality of life, pain managment, legal issues counselling etc there sometimes comes a time when the only humane thing to do is allow the person to die and assist if need be.

Allowing a person to die is different to killing. There is, I grant you, a fuzzy area where the distinction isn't clear (such as removing feeding), but there is a distinction. Some might say that is 'have your cake and eat it' hypocrisy, but I think it is in fact very important. At some point, 'allowing to die' and 'killing' are clearly distinguishable, and I'm against killing.
What if despite best efforts to manage pain a terminally ill person is in total agony and is begging for sufficient morphine to end her life or a person who is completely paralysed and doesn't wish to continue and needs help to commit suicide. Or the person who has a horrible degenerative disease which she knows will result in a long slow apalling death would you allow her her shot of morphine overdose?

No. Palliative care, including the use of morphine to an extent that might shorten life is one thing, using the instruments of care to actually kill someone is quite another, and for the reasons outlined by me above I will not agree to it.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:29 am

From what I've read of your postings toxic you don't strike me as an inhumane person so perhaps when faced with the situation where a loved need your help to end his/her suffering you would find the courage to do whats best for that person despite your principles.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:32 am

imokyrok wrote:
From what I've read of your postings toxic you don't strike me as an inhumane person so perhaps when faced with the situation where a loved need your help to end his/her suffering you would find the courage to do whats best for that person despite your principles.

I will not do that for anyone. And I've thought about it, given my mum's illness, but I wouldn't do it even if I was begged (and my mum, for the record, opposes it too)...
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:41 am

evercloserunion wrote:
There is one point at which a major change occurs in the child - at birth. The change is not biological, but social. In the eyes of society, a baby in the womb is competely different to a baby outside the womb; or, at least, the difference is much greater than that between a baby in the womb for n days and a baby in the womb for n-1 days. The line is not moral or scientific, but social and practical. I contend that, if the religious baggage surrounding this issue were to be removed, the line would be relatively in keeping with society's views on pregnancy. A foetus is never really viewed as a separate person, but rather as an extension of the mother. A woman has a baby and becomes a mother when she goes into labour and the baby pops out of her, not nine months before.
A line completely devoid of morality. As religion and morality are neither mutually dependent nor exclusive, I don't see how the removal of one leads to the removal of the other.

Having said that I agree that there is no other line and therefore allowing abortion up to nine months is the only logical position for a pro choice person to hold, any time scale below that is reflective only of that which their imagination is unwilling to tolerate.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:56 am

I commented on two other potential cut off points in a post at the top of the page Tonys.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 6:11 am

imokyrok wrote:
I commented on two other potential cut off points in a post at the top of the page Tonys.
My cut off point is a moral one. I believe abortion to be either right up to nine months or wrong at any stage, (developmental growth seems to me to be no more important in the first nine months inside the womb than the second nine months outside the womb) and as I believe it to be wrong at any stage, I have no retreat position.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:36 pm

tonys wrote:
imokyrok wrote:
I commented on two other potential cut off points in a post at the top of the page Tonys.
My cut off point is a moral one. I believe abortion to be either right up to nine months or wrong at any stage, (developmental growth seems to me to be no more important in the first nine months inside the womb than the second nine months outside the womb) and as I believe it to be wrong at any stage, I have no retreat position.

And wrong for any reason ?
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:29 pm

When "human life" begins is not the same thing as when a human being comes into existence.

"Human life" you could say begins with fertilisation of an ovum. Certainly the fertilised egg is a living thing, even when frozen (a sperm and an ovum are also living things). Is a fertilsed egg a human being? Obviously not. Is ending its existence in a laboratory or with the morning after pill murder ? Not in my opinion.

The arguments in favour of treating a fertilised egg as if it had the same importance and rights as a sensate and intelligent human being (and equal than or higher than the rights of the mother) appear to be the same arguments that are used against contraception - i.e. interference in natural procreation as intended by God. The logic of this argument seems to me to be that everyone should have unprotected sex at every possible opportunity: why should celibacy should be viewed as any less an interruption of the natural process than a thin layer of rubber?

Does the same belief system also consider that a fertilsed egg has a soul? It was always a source of much grief to women that their stillborn babies were not treated by the Church as human beings. Why so inconsistent?

The argument made here and in the Irish Courts that termination of a pregnancy at one week or at 32 weeks are equivalent acts is in my opinion abstract and religious and non-scientific as well as deeply inhumane and immoral, not to say plain silly and ridiculous.

The critical concern for most women (if they are thinking about terminating a pregnancy) is that abortion should not cause suffering to a sensate pre-natal child. This is not even mentioned by our brilliant judges.

Page 101 here link looks at the empirical research findings on if and when embryos and foetuses feel pain and have other senses. Up until 12 weeks, for example, an embryo/foetus does not have anything like an ear. It appears likely that 20 weeks onwards is when foetuses begin to have functioning senses. Again, leaving women out of the loop has lead scientists and doctors to some ludicrous conclusions - until recently there was a belief that pre-natal babies don't feel pain at all, up to the time of birth. I used to play pat a cake with my baby's feet last time I was pregnant - she would give me a poke and I would prod back and vice versa. I can't imagine any mother would think their child of 28 weeks was insensate.

This whole area of science was neglected until recently: now our understanding is improving and can help us decide on the proper and ethical course of action in any case.

I think that up to the stage of 10-12 weeks termination of the pregnancy should be the choice of the mother, and that providing a service for early rather than late abortions should be the priority. If for any reason the issue of a later abortion comes up, that is a more difficult issue in which a woman's life and health should be viewed as a central priority, but the well being of the foetus should also be taken into account. In my view a so called abortion of a pre-natal child that is developed enough to survive outside the womb is not an abortion, it is killing a person, and should never be legal (as it effectively is at the moment in Ireland).

Reproduction is an enormously powerful thing. For a hierarchy like the Church it is very threatening that such apparent power over life should rest with the mother, who is otherwise very low and powerless in the hierarchy. Also, regular pregnancies and childrearing were a way keeping women at home and controlling their lives.

That life comes from God (rather than the woman and man as part of nature) is a central tenet of religion. Abortion is a denial of that belief in practice. It is not surprising that the Church is vehemently opposed to it: far more opposed to it than it is to child rape, for example. Canon law protects child rapists, but does not protect abortionists. Increasingly women have refused to be bullied and controlled and have made their own decisions.

I am frankly not impressed by the invective thrown at women who have abortions as murderers and selfish and all the rest all the more so when it comes from men. For the vast majority of women, pro and anti abortion, the wellbeing of the child or potential child is at the centre of the case. Terminating a pregnancy would be a very serious decision. Overwhelmingly, women take greater responsibility for child rearing and it has much greater impact on their bodies and lives. They have a natural wish to do the best for their children and to make sacrifices for them. Overwhelmingly, the choice of whether a pregnancy should be carried to term should imo rest with the mother. I have seen women pressurised by husbands and boyfriends to terminate pregnancies, and that would make me just as angry as seeing them forced to go through a pregnancy that they view as untenable.

The idea that women have abortions in a selfish and cynical way is just insulting and ignorant. There is not likely to be a family in Ireland in which someone has had an abortion and in everycase there would have been deep heart searching.

When I was a child, our little terrier came running home from the sand dunes one day dragging a dead baby. Whether it had died at birth or as a result of a late illegal abortion I don't know. Where is the empathy and imagination to give some understanding of what it must be like for a girl to go through that experience and that would not think it better that she should have had a choice of a safe early termination ?


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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:02 pm

Terrific post CF. I've engaged in this debate on p.ie and I'm always struck by the fact that those who take the absolutist view that abortion is immoral and wrong at all times and that a clump of cells equates with a human being are almost always men. It's a cliche but probably also a truism to say that if men could become pregnant abortion would be a sacrement. I also know several women who have had abortions and it was a difficult choice for them to make made all the more difficult by the attitudes that prevail in this country. No woman I've discussed this issue with believes that women should not be permitted to make their own moral judgements on the issue. Even those who believe abortion is wrong recognise that their personal value judgement should not be imposed on others - that women have a right to choose. My 65 year old mother would fall into this category. Women tend to be quite pragmatic about the issue since they are almost always the ones left to pick up the pieces in the event of an unwanted pregnancy.
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PostSubject: Re: Bishops, Abortion, Pregnant Children That Have Been Raped and Sedition   Sat Mar 07, 2009 3:07 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
tonys wrote:
imokyrok wrote:
I commented on two other potential cut off points in a post at the top of the page Tonys.
My cut off point is a moral one. I believe abortion to be either right up to nine months or wrong at any stage, (developmental growth seems to me to be no more important in the first nine months inside the womb than the second nine months outside the womb) and as I believe it to be wrong at any stage, I have no retreat position.

And wrong for any reason ?
Excepting life saving treatments for the mother that unintentionally cause the death of the baby then yes, I would say wrong for any reason.
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